SAN FRANCISCO – What’s ahead for tech, the news media and storytelling in 2017? Video – short, long, live and lots of it; artificial intelligence; and a landscape re-shaped by the presidential election.
Those are among the topline takeaways from our San Francisco office’s third annual media mixer – After the Interview – which brought together PR professionals from around the Bay Area and Silicon Valley as we tapped into the zeitgeist with top national journalists from Wired, Fast Company, Fortune and Yahoo Finance. I moderated the panel along with my colleague Jared Leavitt from New York.
What they said…
STORYTELLING IS CHANGING
IT’S MOBILE: In our mobile/social age, there are many more places for content to go, but good stories work everywhere and journalists have to be where the audience is, says Wired’s David Pierce.
IT’S VISUAL: Fortune now has a video person in the Bay Area on the hunt for visual angles to tech stories, and Yahoo Finance bakes video into more and more stories for the site – recent Facebook Live experiments included a you-are-there experience at a recent Apple event. Giving people a chance to engage and “be in the room with you,” is really powerful, says Pierce.
IT’S LONG, AND IT’S SHORT. Fast Company is known for long form, deeply reported stories, but has experimented with new sections that have shorter reads that are meant to quickly inform or entertain, says technology editor Harry McCracken.
WAIT, WHAT? THE FUTURE
It’s still early days, but McCracken believes a lot of content soon will be consumed via messaging platforms; every journalist should be thinking about the implications of messaging/chat bots.
Speaking of bots, McCracken foresees them playing a bigger role in determining sites’ lead stories. [An observation as I write this, and as someone who has been there during my 20+ years at Gannett: Is there a desk editor anywhere who will miss the graveyard shift? On the other hand, the graveyard shift will get even lonelier.]
THE ELECTION WILL RE-SHAPE TECH/ECONOMY COVERAGE
The presidential election was a moment of self-reflection for Silicon Valley, says Fortune’s Kia Kokalitcheva, whose beat includes the ‘gig’ economy.
The economy really came front and center, she said, which means that examining the on-demand economy and assessing its impact on the larger economy will be even more important.
Perhaps one of the biggest lessons of the election was that journalists aren’t fortune tellers. There will be fantastic stories to tell in the months and years ahead, says McCracken. But journalists should say what’s happening, and what they think, and be clear about the difference between the two.
WHAT THEY ARE MOST EXCITED ABOUT COVERING FOR 2017
Artificial Intelligence; Silicon Valley culture and how it will course-correct post-Election; Uber, Lyft, AirBNB and the regulatory impacts on these companies; communication and the way technology is impacting the way people talk to one another.
And that’s a wrap. Until next year.
You can find videos from the panel here. Leave comments below if you have any additional insights or learnings from your own experience with media!